Gemini Health Care Group is a non-profit health care organization that seeks to reduce the negative health care indicators affecting the children of Ethiopia by providing pediatric specific health care services and education. Ethiopia struggles with an overall physician shortage, but the number of otolaryngologists (ear/nose/throat or ENT surgeons) is critically low, with only 10 surgeons for a population of over 80 million people. This huge shortage leaves a large number of patients with ear, nose and throat diseases unseen and untreated. This March 17-31, Gemini Health Care Group is hosting its sixth educational and medical mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The medical mission will be comprised of two teams:
Team Number One / Surgical Team
This team consists of 11 members, mostly ENTs (Ear Nose Throat), and three audiologists. They will be performing screening, surgeries, and educational activities at Black Lion Hospital, Cure International Hospital, and Mekanissa School for the Deaf.
Team Number Two / Medical Team
This team consists of 15 members, including specialists in pediatric cardiology, neurology, pulmonary, endocrinology, emergency medicine, and hospital medicine. The team will participate in the Second Annual Pediatric by the Nile Conference on March 29-30, a pediatric-focused continuing medical education conference to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The team will be providing teaching support for residents and medical students at the Black Lion and St. Paul Hospital. Moreover, the six members of Kids Care Everywhere will be training and installing the free pediatric emergency medicine software at St Paul Hospital and other facilities. Their effort is endorsed and is being coordinated by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.
Donated medical equipment supplies, including, laptops and books, will be shipped to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to be used at the Play/Educational room at the Black Lion Hospital.
We are cordially reaching out to the public to help spread the word for this worthy cause. To get more information or to donate time, money, equipment or supplies, please visit Gemini Health Care Group’s website at www.ghcg.org.
Last October, Gemini Health Care Group partnered with Healing the Children and otolaryngologists and audiologists from the University of Connecticut and Temple University traveled to Addis Ababa to treat as many patients as possible in the short-term, and provide solutions for long-term improvements in Ethiopia’s access to specialists like otolaryngologists.
The team encountered overfilled waiting rooms full of adults and children with ailments ranging from infections and tumors to hearing loss and chronic sinus and ear disease. Many patients had waited months or years for a specialist evaluation, and even longer for a surgical specialist with the equipment and expertise to diagnose and treat their problem. By the end of the week, several hundred patients had been evaluated in out-patient clinics, and ear and hearing evaluations were completed for nearly a hundred children at schools and hospitals around the city.
The four attending surgeons were featured as guest lecturers for the otolaryngology residency at Black Lion Hospital, including proctoring board examinations for two graduating Ethiopian chief residents. The team completed 36 operative cases, including the first endoscopic sinus surgery performed in Ethiopia, and complex sinus and ear surgeries. These cases provided a rare opportunity for advanced surgery for these patients, as well as critical teaching opportunities for otolaryngology residents training in the fledgling Ethiopian residency. The team’s goal of training Ethiopian surgeons to perform more comprehensive and complex surgeries will provide a sustainable long-term solution to Ethiopia’s shortage of otolaryngologists.
(Trip summary by Dr. Belachew Tessema, M.D.)